Teeth grinding and clenching, or bruxism, is a relatively common problem. Occasional clenching is not typically a major cause for concern. However, chronic bruxism can cause significant facial pain, and it can seriously damage your teeth over time. If you are suffering from this condition, we can provide a night guard at Value Dental Centers in Goodyear, AZ. Because most grinding and clenching takes place at night, you will wear the device while you sleep. Your comfortable appliance will be easy to adjust to, and it will keep your teeth from coming together. Along with night guards, we can provide additional treatment to address the underlying causes of bruxism.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is often a stress-related problem. When you are feeling anxious, your body will produce excess energy. To release this energy, you may unconsciously clench your jaw and grind your teeth. Typically, you will make these motions at night. However, in some cases, you could grind during the day, as well. For example, if you are under a lot of stress at work, you may find that you have jaw tension at your desk.
Crooked and missing teeth are two other common causes of bruxism. Ideally, your top and bottom dental arches should line up perfectly, with each top tooth touching the corresponding one on the bottom. Therefore, if your teeth are not properly positioned, you could constantly move your jaw as you attempt to restore proper alignment.
Other risk factors for bruxism include:
- Sleep apnea
- Drinking caffeine and alcohol
- Tobacco use
- Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease
- Certain medications
The Symptoms of Bruxism
Since most grinding takes place at night, you may be completely unaware that you have bruxism. Nevertheless, there are several telltale symptoms that can help us to diagnose the disorder. Signs include:
- Jaw pain
- Chronic headaches, especially in the morning
- Ear pain
- Small cracks in your teeth
- Dental erosion
- Tooth sensitivity
- Sores on the inside of your mouth or on your tongue
Night Guards and Other Treatments for Bruxism
If you present with any of the symptoms listed above, we will typically recommend a night guard, the most common treatment for bruxism. Your dentist will take impressions of all of your top and bottom teeth. Our partner lab will then create an appliance that will fit securely but comfortably over both dental arches. The night guard will create a barrier to keep your teeth from touching and to prevent teeth grinding. Though simple, these devices are highly effective and can have dramatic results for your dental health.
If possible, our team will also treat the underlying cause of your bruxism. If dental misalignment is the culprit, you may benefit from orthodontic care. At Value Dental Centers Goodyear, we proudly provide subtle Invisalign® treatment. In other cases, we can replace your missing teeth to reduce grinding and restore the proper balance of your bite. We offer both traditional and implant-supported bridges and will help you choose the right type for your needs.
Why Is It Important to Treat Bruxism?
Bruxism is not simply a minor irritation. It can have a lasting impact on your oral health. Without treatment, the constant friction on your teeth will eventually lead to dental erosion. As your enamel wears away, it will expose the nerve endings in your teeth, and you could develop tooth sensitivity. When the protective layer of tissue wears away, you will also face a higher risk for decay and discoloration. Additionally, small cracks could develop in your teeth, which will grow larger over time. At some point, you may need a dental crown or even tooth extraction. Fortunately, timely treatment can often prevent these problems from developing.
Contact Value Dental Centers Goodyear
Are you struggling with facial pain or other symptoms of bruxism? Contact our office to schedule an evaluation and to receive the care you need.